BUDAPEST, HUNGARY — Israel and 23 other countries will be battling for a Gold Medal at the ELF 2016 Men’s European Lacrosse Championships, which are being held at Szent István University in Budapest, Hungary, from July 28-August 6.
The blue-and-white open their schedule against an up-and-coming program in 15th-ranked Switzerland on July 28th at 1:15pm. The two teams have never met in World or European Championship play, however, the Swiss defeated Israel 8-6 in a friendly in 2012.
The Israelis wrap up pool play against 11th-ranked Sweden, who won Bronze at the last edition of the European Championships in 2012. Israel earned a decisive 19-4 win over Sweden at the opener of the 2014 World Championships.
Thu, Jul 28 – Israel vs #15 Switzerland – 1:15pm
Fri, Jul 29 – Israel vs #30 Spain – 10:15am
Sun, Jul 31 – Israel vs #27 Belgium – 1:15pm
Mon, Aug 1 – Israel vs Slovenia – 11:45am
Tue, Aug 2 – Israel vs #11 Sweden – 11:30am
Playoffs begin on Wednesday, April 3
Israel must finish either 1st or 2nd in their pool in order to advance to the Quarterfinals.
The European Championships are held every four years, and the Israel men are hoping to improve upon their 8th Place finish at the 2012 Euros in Amsterdam. LacrosseAllStars.com has predicted Israel and Sweden will emerge from Pool C to the playoffs.
Perennial European powerhouse England is the favorite to win their fourth straight Gold Medal.
Although the Israel Lacrosse Association has announced a policy for European competition which restricts the roster to entirely Israel-based players, many experts are looking towards the Israelis to challenge England for Gold.
The blue-and-white will not be taken lightly following their performance at the 2014 World Championships in Denver, where a team stacked with pros nearly upset England in an overtime thriller.
Israel’s roster has been shrouded in mystery, however, the team held tryouts over New Years in Ashkelon, and is expected to make an announcement in April. US-based stars such as Kyle Bergman and Ari Sussman are expected to compete on Israel’s festival team in Budapest.
The Men’s National Team will see their first action in the run up to the European Championships on Tuesday, April 19th in Prague, Czech Republic, against the European All-Stars.
Photo Credit: Sportpic Israel